Written by Julie Gustafson, Senior Education Manager, NWF
In the summer of 2011, NWF supported by the Motorola Solutions Foundation began a journey in education with our partners, Earth Force and Earth Partnership for Schools and the school communities they serve in the greater Philadelphia and the greater Chicago areas respectively. Together, we set out to serve students, their schools and improve and advance the link between environmental education and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. Eco-schools USA opens doors based on interest and advances a process that leads to student action on issues that matter to them and their community. Through this project, students from seven schools were working toward creating or restoring wildlife habitat on or near their school grounds. The variables impacting the project ranged from the physical, such as concrete surroundings to the mental, educators interest (or lack thereof) in teaching STEM disciplines. However, every school engaged reached success. Below is the brief story of how Hillcrest Elementary in Chicago, Illinois achieved new successes through the Eco-schools program. We hope as a new school year begins, you may be inspired to learn from their journey and begin or continue greening your own Eco-school!